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What to see in Costa Rica

Costa Rica Attractions


Although a small country, there are a wealth of attractions in Costa Rica and only the most jaded of travellers could fail to be excited by the plenitude of exciting things to see and do. A whopping 25 percent of Costa Rica is taken up by 75 different national parks, wildlife refuges and biological reserves, making it a paradise for eco-tourism. Adventurous visitors are spoiled for choice with activities like surfing, kayaking, hiking, fishing, white water rafting, canyoning, climbing and zip-line tours available all over this diverse country. For those inclined to relax, Costa Rica boasts truly beautiful beaches and these alone could fill a holiday with sun-tanning, swimming and snorkelling.

The northwest region of Costa Rica is famous for two particularly spectacular national parks: the Arenal Volcano National Park, with the seemingly perpetually active Volcan Arenal at its heart; and the world renowned Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve, a unique and awe-inspiring wilderness area that enchants visitors with its mystical atmosphere. Fortuna is a good base from which to explore the region and a visit to the Monteverde community, spread in the hills of the cloud forest, is a fascinating excursion.

The Pacific coast is well developed for tourism and is scattered with picturesque villages and great beaches. Jacó is a beach resort town perfect for surfing, sunning and partying in the midst of this wonderful coastline. Puntarenas, the largest town in the region, a popular stop for cruises, is also a good base for exploring the area. The Manuel Antonio National Park is the most celebrated reserve of the region and here you will find a captivating variety of wildlife, as well as the chance to enjoy numerous adventure activities.

The Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is becoming increasingly popular; it has a more relaxed atmosphere and is less developed for tourism, but it is a beach haven and the local communities are charming, friendly and happy to share their yummy cuisine and vibey music. Puerto Limon is a bit rundown, but it receives regular cruise passengers and acts as a doorway into the stunning coastal areas and pristine rainforests of Caribbean Costa Rica. Puerto Viejo de Talamanca is a popular tourist destination nestled on the coast. The best parks in this area are the Cahuita National Park, which protects a wondrous coral reef and is a treat for divers and snorkellers, and the Tortuguero National Park, in the north, a famous breeding ground for sea turtles.

And in the middle of this natural wonderland of a country sits the capital, San Jose, which is a lively and modern city with good shopping, restaurants and nightlife. It has some architecturally beautiful colonial areas and a few great museums. From this urban centre you can find no end of things to see and do in Costa Rica.


Arenal Volcano National Park

The Arenal Volcano National Park is situated in what is known as 'the Energetic Heart of Costa Rica'. At its centre is the 5,356 foot (1,633m) Volcán Arenal, a typically cone-shaped volcano…

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Cahuita National Park

The only coral reef on the Costa Rican Caribbean coastline is found within this national park, and with 500 species of fish it affords excellent opportunities for snorkelling. Apart from the vibrant…

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Fortuna

Fortuna is the nearest village to the spectacular Volcán Arenal. While the volcano is the main reason for visiting the area, there is a lot more on offer. The town has uninterrupted views of…

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Manuel Antonio National Park

Manuel Antonio is the smallest national park in Costa Rica but also one of the more popular. With beautiful white beaches and rocky headlands backed by tropical rainforest, it is easy to see why. Among…

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Monteverde

Monteverde is a small community scattered along several kilometres of road that leads to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. It was founded by North American Quakers in 1951, having bought…

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Puerto Viejo de Talamanca

Puerto Viejo de Talamanca, known to locals as Puerto Viejo (not to be confused with Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí in the northern lowlands), is a dusty little village lying between the forested…

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Tortuguero National Park

Despite its isolation on the northern part of the Caribbean coast, Tortuguero National Park is an extremely popular destination and one of the most important nesting sites of the green sea turtle,…

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